Tuesday, June 19, 2012


My feelings on the gryph have done a complete 180 in the past 24 hours.

But first, a little background: As near as I can tell, the gryph is one of those innumerable monsters that appeared in the 1st Ed. Field Folio, never made the jump to 2nd, and languished until statted up for Necromancer Games’ Tome of Horrors series.  Since then, it’s managed to flutter its way into a published adventure or two (I’m sure I saw it in a Pathfinder Adventure Path or GameMastery Module or something) before landing in the Bestiary 2.

So, it’s always been an evil too-many-legged bird that implants its eggs in people. Then Paizo made it not just any bird, but a stork.  Yes, that’s right—a stork that impregnates people.  Haha.  We’re veering into real Piers Anthony territory here.  (What’s next—an elf named St. Nikolaus who leaves severed heads in shoes?)

And yet.  And yet.  Paizo didn’t stop there, and that’s what saves this monster.  They also gave it a strange vermin affinity—almost guaranteeing that parties will encounter it in tandem with swarms or giant insects.  That’s weird.  That’s interesting.  And it’s that one extra detail that turns a joke monster into a compelling one, making the gryph a weird mix of fecundity and morbidity—a carrion eater, a disease spreader, and a parasitic plague all in one.  I love it.

Lomburg is famous for the storks that nest among its chimneys.  When a flock of gryphs settles in town after a flood, it soon decimates the stork population, then begins to infect transients and children caught out alone.

The ostler at the Manticore Downs stable yard apparently died with his abdomen burst open, as have many of his charges.  Giant flies roost on the carcasses.  And a price racehorse set to be sold to a visiting imam is missing.

A throng of gryphs led by a half-fiend harpy lurks in the swamps of Greenshire.  The pairing is the first move in a chess game of pestilence between a nascent demon lord of insect plagues and a daemonic scientist of disease.

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 150

My mail just arrived with Pathfinder Adventure Path 57: Tempest Rising, Lost Kingdoms, and Coliseum Morpheuon.  I am a) excited, and b) now very behind on my reading.

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